As expected, Vitantonio Liuzzi will return to the Formula One arena to replace Ferrari-bound Giancarlo Fisichella in the Force India line-up from this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
The former Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso race will take over the #21 car alongside Adrian Sutil at his home grand prix, the final European race of the 2009 season, and will remain there for the rest of the campaign, winding up in Abu Dhabi in November.
Although Fisichella was confirmed at Ferrari late last week, Force India has taken its time to announce Liuzzi as his replacement, and revealed in a statement that it had been checking a number of possibile scenarions - without actually mentioning who Liuzzi's rivals for the seat may have been. Mercedes DTM drivers Gary Paffett and Paul di Resta had been among those linked to the team pre-season, but both remain embroiled in their respective race programmes.
"I'm delighted to give Tonio the opportunity to get back into a race seat, which I know he has been itching to do for the past two years," team owner Dr Vijay Mallya commented, "Force India is now in a very competitive position and we need a driver who can continue this momentum. This will be the chance for Tonio to demonstrate to both the team and the field that he has the commitment, speed and professionalism to perform and I am sure he will seize this opportunity."
Having been largely denied testing opportunities by the gentleman's agreement in place in F1 this season, Liuzzi will resume his 39-race grand prix career with just a straight-line aero test, at Kemble airfield on 3 September, under his belt.
Buoyed by Fisichella's second place at Spa two weekends ago, the 28-year old will look to better his career-best sixth place - from the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix - at Monza.
"I can't wait to get back into the car in race trim, particularly at my home grand prix," he admitted, "I really appreciate the opportunity Vijay has given me, particularly now Force India has a great car that's performing very well.
"I am confident I can carry on our progress. I'm very motivated, I'm in good shape and hungry to get some more points on the board. Although it's unfortunate that this came about as an direct result of Felipe [Massa]'s accident, this is my opportunity to show people what I can do and I'm really looking forward to it."